Bhai Mardana Ji

Guru Nanak's lifelong companion and first pupil, Mardana, was also his rebeck player. In the Guru's company, Mardana developed into a poet and philosopher with all the wit and comedy of a Punjabi minstrel. He was a professional rebeck player, a Mirasi, or minstrel, by caste, and a Muslim by birth. Mardana's hometown, Talwandi Rai Bhoe Ki, is where she was born. All of Mardana's parents' children had passed away. Out of pure desperation and despair, Mardana's mother named him Marjana, meaning "one who was about to die," when he was born. Nevertheless, he made it through and lived to be sixty-one years old. Guru Nanak adopted the name Mardana, which means courageous or manly.

His mother was Lakho, and his father was Badra. Mehta Kalu's family bard was named Badra. Every morning, Badra and Mardana would visit the homes of the locals to solicit alms, usually in the form of flour or food items. Both would move next door after getting charity and sing to the sound of music on Rebeck. When Nanak was little, she was enthralled by their lovely music. He was naturally drawn to Mardana, the boy.

Over time, Nanak relocated from Talwandi to Sultanpur Lodhi, where he worked for Jalandhar Doab Governor Daulat Khan Lodi. Nanak's father, Mehta Kalu, was not receiving positive reports on his son's work. It occurred to him that he may benefit from Mardana's company. When Mardana was transferred to Sultanpur, he was thirty years old. His arrival greatly pleased Nanak. Together, they developed a routine of singing hymns of praise to God in public spaces both before and after work in the morning and evening. Their lovely voice and gentle rebeck notes won over listeners' hearts and put them in a blissful condition.

Eastward travel was undertaken by Nanak and Mardana in 1497. When they returned to Punjab in 1509, they had traveled as far as Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, via Central India. For preaching in public against Sikandar Lodi's orders, Nanak and Mardana were both imprisoned in Delhi. as in prison, Mardana performed a rebeck as both of them sang. Enormous crowds of prisoners gathered to witness this captivating spectacle. In jail, this kind of scene was unusual. The Guru and his pupil were released as this broke the place's regular schedule.

Nanak started singing praises to God at the side of the road, while Mardana played a symphonic strain on his instrument. The names of Allah and Khuda were the only ones that the listeners, who spoke Arabic, could understand, but the combination of a beautiful voice, a lovely melody, and saintly features calmed their thoughts. However, as music was forbidden in Islam, someone took issue with their performance, saying that it diverted attention from God and towards sensuality. Nanak knew a little broken Arabic and could interpret it. He retorted that God made music and that beautiful poetry made Him more approachable than dry prose.

There, the pilgrims remained for a while. Mardana was weary of traveling and his health and spirit had been deteriorating. They had to travel almost 5,000 miles to get home. It would take them nine or ten months if they could walk 20 miles every day. Mardana's heart sank at this idea. His life's goal of traveling to the most revered Islamic sites, including Mecca, Medina, and Baghdad, had come true. He had emerged victorious as Haji. He had no desire to continue. This sacred area was where he felt he would die.

When Guru Nanak returned to Punjab, he stopped in Talwandi. His folks had passed away. Mardana's parents have also passed away. He sent his wife and sons his condolences. He convinced Shahzada, the eldest son of Mardana, to take up his father's position by promising him the same respect, concern, and care. As the principal minstrel to both the Guru and the Sikh sangats, Shahzada traveled with the Guru to Kartarpur.

In Janam Sakhis, Bhai Mardana plays the character of an assistant. Bhai Mardana created the schemes to ask Guru Nanak Sahib for clarifications in his capacity as an aide. His struggles to control his hunger, his constant yearning to go home, his expressions of avarice, his anxiety, his delusions of ignorance, etc. are all symbolic roles. All of these qualities are exclusive to the owner of the ultimate truth, who does not harbor such vices. It appears that Janam Sakhi's Mardana differs greatly from authentic Mardana, and the Sakhi's writers have employed him in a symbolic way. To be clear, Dr. Gurcharan Singh proposes that:

"Such duties are written against the holy knowledge and understanding of Guru Nanak Sahib. But Mardana's involvement in such little matters not only hones Guru Sahib's spiritual insights, but also illuminates them like the sun."

Bhai Khan Singh claims that on the banks of the Kurram River in Afghanistan, on the 13th of Mugar Sanmat, 1591, Bhai Mardana passed away. His body was burned by Guru Nanak personally. This is not credible as in Sanmat 1591, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was in Kartarpur. There is no mention of his possible return trip to Afghanistan for Bhai Mardana's cremation, however. Conversely, some historians claim that Bhai Mardana passed away in Kartarpur eight days following the passing of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. However, Hari Ram concluded after looking at the etched markings of Baghdad that Bhai Mardana passed away there while visiting Baghdad. Thus, it is challenging to ascertain the exact time and place of Bhai Mardana's death.